From Bioscience to Pedagogy: a transition in progress?
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From Bioscience to Pedagogy: a transition in progress?. Nicholas Freestone. HEA STEM Conference, 2014. A transition? Do we need to change?. What does the future hold for the biological sciences HE practitioner?. We exist in “desperate hope and desperate fear” Professor David Watson, 2014.

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From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

From Bioscience to Pedagogy: a transition in progress?

Nicholas Freestone

HEA STEM Conference, 2014


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

A transition? Do we need to change?

What does the future hold for the biological sciences HE practitioner?

We exist in “desperate hope and desperate fear” Professor David Watson, 2014

We are expected to be many (contradictory?) things simultaneously.


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

What are the drivers of change?

The Willetts Report for the Social Market Foundation: Robbins Revisited: Bigger and Better Higher Education (sic?)

Teaching quality was one of Robbins’ major concerns as it is for Willetts.

Willetts: “strengthen the incentives to focus on teaching” as the pendulum has swung too far in favour of rewarding excellence in research.


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

The drivers of change?

To counterbalance the historic fall in spend per student Willetts says funding is now intended to follow the student.

KIS data sets give students ability to make informed choices.

The teaching:research split for the universities that existed when Robbins reported is now around 40:60 (from 55:45). The ratio in the former polytechnics and FE colleges is 89:11


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

Our response?

We need to develop a “sense of professional obligation” towards our teaching.

How might such “professionalism” be demonstrated and practised?

My personal journey (even in a post-1992 institution more obviously wedded to the primacy of HE teaching) has confronted such dilemmas.


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

The role of self-study

“for public theory to influence educational practice it must be translated through the personal”. Bullough and Pinnegar, 2001


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

Re-orientation and Transition

Tentative first steps…………

Engaging in pedagogical research – action research as part of PGCHE

Gaining a University Teaching Fellowship for a pedagogical research project.

Enrolling on an EdD programme


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

Gaining more confidence by getting appropriate help and networking……

Engaging with the HEA disciplinary groupings in the biological sciences

Generating data, presenting at conferences and writing pedagogical papers and grants.


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

Light at the end of the tunnel?........

Getting external validation by applying to the HEA for Fellow/Senior Fellow/Principal Fellow status.

Applying for promotion on the basis of learning and teaching expertise.


From bioscience to pedagogy a transition in progress

Potential Barriers to Transition

Lack of underpinning theoretical knowledge

Lack of expertise in different research methodologies

Setting yourself up as an expert amongst (sceptical) colleagues

Uncertain career path

Losing expertise and credibility in your home discipline


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